The Easiest (and Tastiest!) Sausage and Peppers

Summer is officially here! If you’re anything like me, then you are probably excited to do all those things that we couldn’t do last year. And you’re probably looking for a quick and easy dinner than can be thrown together in no time at all.

If so, then I have the perfect dish for you: Sausage and Peppers!

This recipe is great because it’s a one pan meal and it can be thrown together ahead of time, kept in the fridge until needed, and clean up is a breeze! Plus, it can easily be adapted to your own tastes and the ingredients you already have on hand. I used chicken sausage that comes pre-cooked, so you’re basically just reheating it. It’s a bit of a time saver and usually these types of sausages have more flavor combinations that regular sausage.

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The BEST Brownies for 2021!

You may remember back in May I purchased the King Arthur Baking Company All-Purpose Baker’s Companion. Well, I finally had an opportunity to make one of the fabulous recipes in the book. The hardest part for me was deciding which recipe to make. I wanted something easy and a recipe that I had all or almost all of the ingredients already. Once I got to the Cookies and Bars chapter, the answer jumped right out at me.

Brownies! Fudge Brownies to be precise!

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Barefoot Contessa Recipe 50

This recipe can be found in At Home, page 37

Well I finally made one — a sandwich!

I had been anxiously waiting to start the sandwich category for a little while, but it just never came to be. Until this past weekend. It had been a while since I made my last BC recipe — especially a savory one. But this weekend was a little busy for me and I didn’t want to spend a lot of time standing over the stove, in line at the grocery store, or baking something in the oven.

The solution? A sandwich. After glancing through the list of 28 sandwiches, a few jumped out at me. Such as the Croque Monsieur, Lobster BLTs, and Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches. While these all sounded very tasty, and my mouth did start to water when reading about them in the cookbooks, I quickly realized that all these choices would involve at least one of the things I didn’t want to be doing that day.

So, I skipped them and settled on something that seemed easy enough. And I had just about everything on hand already. It was a win-win!

This chicken salad was pretty easy. But, I did make some modifications to it. First, I didn’t roast the chicken in the oven. I cooked the two breasts on the stove (I didn’t want to turn my oven on that day…too warm!). I also only made enough for two sandwiches, not the four that the recipe yields, so I made the adjustments to ingredients accordingly.

It doesn’t look like a lot of chicken, and to be honest, it wasn’t. But, it was the perfect amount to make my two sandwiches.

I added the tarragon, salt, pepper, celery, and mayonnaise just like Ina said. I also decided to include some red grapes that we had left in the fridge. There was only a large handful left and only a few that were still “edible.” So, I just used them up.

However, after combining everything, things looked a little loose. So, I popped it in the fridge for about a half hour before making the sandwich, just to firm things up and allow the flavors to marry. When I was ready to make the sandwich, I toasted some bread, slathered a thin layer of mayo on one slice, and piled about half of the chicken salad on top.

When I bit into it, I was pleasantly surprised. The addition of tarragon adds a hint of licorice-like flavor that I wasn’t really expecting. But, I did like it. Tarragon and poultry go well together, it seems. Many chefs (including Ina) use it when making roast chickens or turkeys. It’s definitely an herb I’ll have to keep in mind.

This chicken salad is a great quick meal that can be made in no time any night of the week. It also seems like it can be scaled up easily to serve a large group of people. While it didn’t blow me away, it did hit the spot, and it taught me to add tarragon to my chicken salad to liven things up a bit!

It’s Finally Done!

Hey, y’all!

I did it! I finally did it!

I finally was able to create index pages for each of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks! All 12 pages can now be viewed and I was even able to update them to where I am at with cooking through the recipes.

Click here to see what I’m talking about. I’m so happy that I was finally able to do this. It actually didn’t take me as long as I thought it would.

Anyway….

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Cupcakes, Party Style!

With my birthday being last week, I decided to make the cupcakes for the work-related celebration everyone gets. I could have went “over the top,” but frankly, I wanted to keep it simple. So, I found a recipe from Sally’s Baking Addition and got to work.

I made her Confetti Vanilla Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting. The addition of the sprinkles to the decorations really made me feel like I was serving up a party! The pop of color was a fun addition!

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Magnolia Bakery Recipe 5: Peanut Butter Icebox Bars

Wow!

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I’ve made a recipe out of the Magnolia Bakery cookbook. Almost two months! Where has the time gone?

A few weeks ago, my family hosted some family members for a little get-together. It was the first one since the pandemic started and since we all had become fully vaccinated, and it was held outdoors, we felt safe enough.

I was asked to provide dessert for the occasion, which of course, I jumped on! I made two desserts. The first one was Ina Garten’s Boston Cream Pie and the second was these Peanut Butter Icebox Bars. I really liked this one since this was a no-bake recipe so it made my life a bit easier.

This recipe was one of the easiest ones I’ve ever made and the result? Decadent peanut butter clouds that were a huge hit!

While they were tasty and well-received, I did taste a little too much cream cheese for my liking. If I made them again, I will probably use more peanut butter or a little less cream cheese — or maybe both! Also, I ended up using way more caramel sauce than called for. I probably needed double the amount in the recipe to “thinly coat” my 9×13 pan.

The only other downside to these was the fact that they would “melt” quickly. There is no gelatin in these bars, so in order to stay firm, it relies solely on the cream cheese consistency. Once they are held in your hands, from either just handling them or eating them, they do warm up a bit and start to lose their shape. Leaving them out on a hot day? Forget about it, they will start to spread.

But have no fear! I’ve found a solution — well actually, my mom did. She froze some of the pieces. When we tried them a few days later, they tasted even better and stayed firm which I think improved the taste a bit. Thanks, Mom!

Cut these on the smaller side since they are quite rich. The crust alone was a treat!

My counter while the crust was cooling. I was anxiously waiting to do the next step of the process!

I tried to take a close-up shot and be artsy. I only realized when I went to upload it to the blog that this photo has the tray in focus and not the topping, which is what I was going for. *sigh*

And finally…..!

Completed and chilled! Nom…nom…nom! It’s going to be a bit warm today. I wish I had one of these frozen to snack on later.

My Birthday and the Cake!

My birthday was earlier this week, and as hinted at in last week’s post, I decided to bake my own cake!

After many recipe page views and checking a handful of different food blogs, I finally settled on one! I ended up going back to a tried and true baking blog, Sally’s Baking Addiction. This website features so many options to chose from, that it took a while to narrow it all down. I eventually decided on German Chocolate Cake!

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It’s June!

Wow!

I can’t believe it! What happened to May? It appears that, to date, May was my least active month on the blog. There was a reason for that: things started to open up, activities began again, and my time became more constrained. However, some of the things I had lined up for this summer have fell through, which is too bad for me, but it’s great for the blog!

I have a personal goal for June: 6 recipes made during the month.

To be honest, doing two will be easy since my birthday is just around the corner. I will, obviously, be making my own cake. I’m also making cupcakes for a work thing next week, as well.

I am going to try to include at least one savory recipe in the mix, but, as you may have noticed, my focus on been on baking.

What Cake Am I Making For My Birthday?

It actually took me quite a while to find one that appealed to me. I knew I wanted to branch out a bit and make something outside of the Barefoot Contessa and Magnolia Bakery canon (even though the latter has some amazing cake recipes). After some searching online, I decided to stick to a tried and true baking blog: Sally’s Baking Addiction.

After paging through recipe after recipe, and one mouth-watering photo after another, I finally made my decision!

What cake is it?

It’s a surprise. You’ll have to wait until next week to find out!

Herbal Update June 1, 2021

Earlier today, I submitted all the assignments for the Ethnobotany module in the Phytotherapy Program at Heart of Herbs. I now move onto the Microbiology module.

In a few more modules, I will be beginning the Master Clinical Herbalist course portion of the program. That is when I plan to post these Herbal Updates a bit more frequently.

Herbal Blessings!